Alcohol is fun – until it isn’t.
At Shanti Recovery and Wellness, we meet people in our Portland, OR office who want to stop or reduce their drinking everyday. We treat alcoholism – a form of substance use disorder – with nutrition, talk therapy and medication using the highest level of evidence-based care available today.
For each of our patients, there came a time when the answer to the question, “am I drinking too much?” was “yes.”
The answer to this question is both technical and highly subjective. People tend to answer it in their own way, in their own time.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, any man who drinks more than 2 drinks a day and any woman who drinks more than 1 drink per day is engaging in heavy alcohol consumption. Any woman who has more than 3 drinks in a sitting and any many who has more than 4 drinks in a sitting is considered to be engaging in binge drinking. These are guidelines based on averages.
Numbers aside, there are important factors you’ll need to weigh when answering this question for yourself. Your relationship with alcohol is more complicated than just a numbers game.
Read on to learn the top 5 red flags to look for when you’re drinking too much.
You’re Drinking Too Much When: You Often Drink More Than You Planned
You should be able to make a plan about how much alcohol to consume and stick to it.
When you drink “too much” – whatever that means to you – do you do it on purpose or is it just something that happens that you feel you have little control over? Many people with substance use disorder will find themselves setting limits on their drinking at the beginning of a night and then find that by the time they reach that “magic number” that they begin to negotiate with their limits. “Just one more” is a common refrain.
This is a big sign that something’s not right with your relationship with alcohol.
If you feel like you can’t control your drinking, consider it a huge red flag that you may be drinking too much.
You’re Drinking Too Much When: You Are Experiencing Blackouts or Brownouts
When you consume too much alcohol too quickly, blackouts or brownouts are often the result.
When you wake up the next day and don’t remember what happened, that is known as a blackout. When you wake up the next day and find patches of the evening missing, that’s known as a brownout.
Both blackouts and brownouts happen when your brain’s memory building components are prevented from working due to too much alcohol in your system. This condition can be very dangerous.
Blackouts are a clinical indicator of substance use disorder that should not be ignored. If you’re experiencing frequent blackouts; yes, you are drinking too much.
You’re Drinking Too Much When: Your Loved Ones Have Expressed Concern About Your Drinking
Drinking becomes a problem when you experience negative consequences at school, at work or in your personal relationships. The people who care about you will often bring up your problem drinking before you do. If your loved ones have expressed concern, listen to them.
You’re Drinking Too Much When: You Are Hiding Your Alcohol Consumption
Have you ever lied about how much alcohol you drank?
Have you ever hidden bottles of alcohol around the house?
Have you ever done anything to conceal the fact that you’ve been drinking?
Those who have their alcohol consumption under control don’t need to take measures to cover their tracks. If you feel ashamed of the amount you’ve been drinking or you’re worried others may judge your level of alcohol consumption, that’s a red flag that you may be drinking too much.
You’re Drinking Too Much When: You Need Alcohol to Unwind
Too often, drinking becomes a way to cope with underlying mental illness, physical health problems or other life stressors. It’s easy to self-medicate with alcohol because it is readily available and it’s considered socially acceptable.
If you find that you need alcohol to relax, have fun or unwind, that indicates that you’re reliant on alcohol and that you may be drinking too much.
Drinking Too Much? We Can Help
At Shant Recovery and Wellness, we specialize in addiction treatment medicine in a small, family clinic setting. Everything we do is evidence based and shame-free. We’re invested in seeing you get the care you deserve during challenging times.
Give us a call today to begin your journey to freedom from alcohol.